Hearthstone Players Are Trapped In A Cycle of Salt

It’s been just over a month since the release of Hearthstone’s Journey to Un’Goro expansion, so you know what that means: it’s time for the Hearthstone community to remember how much they hate the game. But don’t worry, they’ll get over it. It’s all one big cycle. If you’ve ever followed any game with a player base as dogged as Blizzard’s online collectible card game’s, you know how fickle the core can be. Any change to the game is viewed with intense scrutiny, every developer decision interpreted as either a money grab or completely out-of-touch. On this familiar seesaw between excitement and brutal criticism, hype is never just hype—it’s also a precursor to eventual disappointment. I call it the Hearthstone Salt Cycle, and this is how it always plays out. Last week, the popular Hearthstone streamer Octavian “Kripparrian” Morosan released a video in which he complains about what he sees as major problems with Hearthstone, specifically about the game’s randomness and prohibitive pricing. This is nothing unusual for Morosan, who’s known in the community for his brutal, honest opinions. What’s surprising is the speed with which he turned from enthusiasm about the new Un’Goro expansion, to legitimate concern READ FULL…

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Hearthstone Playoffs Will Be Held In Buffalo Wild Wings, Which Presents Some Problems

Even in a Buffalo Wild Wings, some people will always get salty when a Quest Rogue wins. (Photo courtesy of Buffalo Wild Wings) Think you’ve got what it takes to qualify for the Hearthstone Spring Championships? Okay, but can you do it in a Buffalo Wild Wings? If you’re looking to compete in this year’s Hearthstone Spring Playoffs, you might have to throw down in a loud room that smells like honey barbecue sauce. Advertisement Blizzard Entertainment announced this week that this year’s Hearthstone Spring Playoffs—which will determine who qualifies for the $250,000 Hearthstone Spring Championship in Shanghai—will take place on May 27 and 28 in 10 venues across the United States. Five of those venues are Buffalo Wild Wings locations. Blizzard has approved BWW as a venue in the past for Hearthstone’s Winter Tavern Hero qualifiers, and some players say the setting was a huge distraction. In one participant’s account, the shoddy internet led to multiple disconnections, and the wait staff who came to the table actually interrupted the flow of the game. Photo: Blizzard Let’s be clear: as a digital collectible card game, Hearthstone is not a good READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Blizzard Celebrates 70 Million Hearthstone Users With Free Card Pack Giveaway

Blizzard’s massively popular Hearthstone has reached a significant milestone. As of today, 70 million players have tried out the card battle game across all platforms. Last year, it was reported that there were 50 million Hearthstone users. Gaining 20 million new players in just one year is no small feat. One of the main contributing reasons for this sudden growth is due to the Journey to Un’Goro expansion that came out last April. The expansion was so popular that it caused the game’s servers to crash due to the influx of users. “We’re humbled and grateful that so many players have chosen to join us for some Hearthstone fun,” said a blog post on Battle.net. “As our way of saying thanks, starting today through the end of May, everyone who logs in will receive three free Journey to Un’Goro card packs. Yup! Everyone! Even new players! Just log in to claim your bonus packs!” The free Journey to Un’Goro card pack is certainly an excellent way to give back to the community. The giveaway starts today and runs all the way to the end of May. Even folks who log in for READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!


Hearthstone Hits 70 Million Players; Get Three Journey to Un’Goro Card Packs Free to Celebrate


Some Hearthstone Players Challenge Themselves To Spot Lethal Combos

Image credit: u/afresquet Hearthstone players have been playing “spot the lethal” for years. Similar to chess puzzles, where a board state is laid out and you try to achieve checkmate in a certain number of moves, “spot the lethal” asks if you can figure out how to drop your opponent’s life to 0 in a single turn. Advertisement YouTube content creator “ZeroMana” recently started a series of lethal puzzles, using both custom boards and actual situations from different Hearthstone pros and streamers. The production quality is top-notch, showing the card text and board state in full. ZeroMana has said their team will try to produce a weekly puzzle reel, which will include a carryover solution from the previous week. Good luck trying to solve the one at the end of the above video—I’ve been scratching my head for a good ten minutes on it. Though ZeroMana brings a great level of production value to the mix, several others have made “spot the lethal” puzzles through imgur posts in the past. ESL’s Trinity Series even made a few, though some of the more popular ones are… well… see for yourself: Let us READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Blizzard Retires Classic Cards In Anticipation Of New Hearthstone Season

Blizzard announced changes today to the Hearthstone standard and wild sets in anticipation of 2017, which it dubs the “Year of the Mammoth.” Several core Hearthstone cards are being retired from the competitive scene, in order to open up new options for deck construction. Neutral class cards Azure Drake, Sylvanas Windrunner, and Ragnaros the Firelord will be put in the wild Hall of Fame set. Warlocks will lose Power Overwhelming, Mages cede their Ice Lances, and Rogues can no longer use Conceal in standard decks. The structure of standard and wild was instituted last year, to deal with the influx of new expansions piling on top of old sets. As part of this year’s rotation, a new 130-card expansion is expected in the spring, which will push Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament and League of Explorers into the wild set. Though you can compete in either format at any time, standard is the basis of competitive play and the ranked ladder, while wild consists of any card from any set. Advertisement Advertisement Unlike the tradition for past cards that received READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


New Hearthstone Patch Nerfs Pirates And Shamans

A new patch for Hearthstone will make it easier to climb the ranks, and allow for a little more variety in the ladder. Advertisement As announced today on Blizzard’s forums, there will now be floors to ranked play in Hearthstone. Once a player has reached certain milestones—at ranks 15, 10 and 5—they can no longer fall below those ranks during the current season. While it might encourage deck experimentation, it also helps ease the worries of players who get rankings anxiety while climbing the ladder. A few balance changes are also coming to address some of the more prominent issues in the current Hearthstone meta, namely two cards: Small-Time Buccaneer and Spirit Claws. Advertisement These changes help to mitigate some of the staleness in current Hearthstone competitive play, as both the availability and power of cards like Small-Time Buccaneer has defined the meta around only a few viable deck archetypes. Popular Hearthstone streamer and commentator Kripparrian recently said on stream that “if I was a constructed player, I would have quit Hearthstone by now.” Constructed is the standard set of cards that competitive and READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Now You Can Farm WoW Gold For Overwatch Loot Boxes And Hearthstone Cards

Thanks to a change in the way Blizzard’s WoW tokens work, players can now farm World of Warcraft gold and apply it towards credit for Overwatch loot boxes, Heroes of the Storm character unlocks and Hearthstone cards. Advertisement WoW Tokens are items introduced to World of Warcraft to give players a way to buy subscription time for in-game gold while giving others a legitimate alternative to purchasing gold from third-party websites. The player in need of World of Warcraft currency can buy a WoW Token for $20 in cash, then sell it for a fixed amount of gold in the game’s auction house (current asking price on North American servers is 62,393 gold). Players buying these tokens at the auction house would then redeem them for 30 days of game time. Starting today, players can trade those tokens for $15 of Battle.net credit instead of game time (amounts may vary by region). Here’s a video explanation of how that works. Depending on your World of Warcraft gold farming acumen, this could be a nice way to turn that lazy grinding time into extra in-game items or even full digital Blizzard READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


China's 2016 World Electronic Sports Games Were Lit

China has been building ghost cities, constructing man-made islands in the Pacific, and more recently diving head-first into the world of competitive gaming. When it comes to esports, the World Electronic Sports Games are entirely next level thanks to gigantic prize pools, unusual rules, and inconsistent live streams. Advertisement The WESG 2016 took place at the Changzhou Olympic Sports Center, a venue holding 38,000 that was originally constructed for the 2008 Summer Olympics. After months of regional qualifying, four groups of six teams each competed in tournaments for Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Hearthstone, and StarCraft II. What the event seemingly lacked in forethought and production coordination, it made up for with its opening ceremony and prize money. Despite being in its first year, however, the event was flush with cash thanks to its sponsor, Alibaba. It’s effectively China’s Amazon. It’s so profitable that the company formerly known as Yahoo! is able to survive solely based on its share of Alibaba stock. That’s why a moderate investment of $150 million by the Chinese ecommerce giant is able to manufacture an entire months-long series of international esports competitions with $5.5 million READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

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Infinity Wars Reborn Review – A Unique Card Game Missing Some Key Ingredients

Infinity Wars Reborn Review  Honesty is of the upmost importance, which is why I’m telling you that I’ve never been into cards games. Whether it was Pokemon trading cards back in my elementary school, or in-depth games like Magic: The Gathering, outside of Uno and Poker, I’ve only dabbled in the world of cards. But with the popularity in Magic: The Gathering’s digital games from 2011 on, to the all mighty Hearthstone, it’s no surprise that there’s been a surge of titles released in this genre as of late. Infinity Wars is neither as prolonged as Magic, nor as immediate as Hearthstone. Intelligently, Infinity Wars Reborn occupies its own unique branch of gameplay. Rules are the same regardless if you’re playing online, practice, or the story campaign. You and the enemy begin with 100 Health and 100 Morale points, whomever reaches 0 in either resolve, loses. Your battlegrounds consists of support, defense, and offense zones, however, with a majority of cards, they need to be placed in the support zone before they can defend or attack. This means that if you want to place down your high damage card, you need to reveal its existence to the enemy, allowing them…


Hearthstone Devs Want To Be More Open, But Are Worried About Harassment

The Internet is not always a kind place, especially when you’re a public figure. Advertisement In the wake of questions about Blizzard’s “Designer Insights” video series, Hearthstone game director Ben Brode articulated a sentiment that’s far from uncommon in the world of game development. He and other members of the dev team, he said, would like to make more videos and speak more candidly, but the specter of harassment looms. “I love doing videos, and I think I can convince more of the team to get involved, so it’s not just me,” Brode wrote on Reddit, having explained that he makes many Hearthstone videos alone, in his own home, no less. “Not everyone is as excited about being a public face as [senior producer] Yong [Woo] and I are, though—there is a lot of harassment that comes with being more public.” Advertisement That said, the Hearthstone team is working on whipping up a permanent space for video shoots, so that team members who do want to be more public-facing don’t have arrange sleepover parties at Brode’s house. Still, it’s a shame that this is READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Hearthstone-Style Plants Vs. Zombies Spin-Off Launches

The battle between flora and the undead has taken many forms over the years, from the original flower defense to full-blown third-person shooter. Now we can officially add collectible card game to the list, with the launch of Plants Vs. Zombies Heroes, aka Hearthstone with lanes. Advertisement The free-to-play card game, now available on iOS and Android, sees players picking sides in Popcap’s ongoing conflict for the first time on mobile devices. Players build decks around one of 20 plant or zombie heroes, each with a unique special ability. Battles play out in lanes, a’la the original Plants Vs. Zombies, with plenty of strategy in place to ensure the players’ guys beat down their opponents’. Here’s a video of me playing though an earlier test version of the game. Specifics have changed, but the basic idea remains. From what I’ve played so far, Plants Vs. Zombies Heroes is a blast, with plenty of solo content (some 400 levels) for players who’d rather not take their game online. It’s quite a bit Hearthstone-y, what with the basic mechanics and crafting and hero-based play, but those are good things that I don’t mind having more of. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Hearthstone Pro Terrence Miller Hopes To Clean Up Twitch Chat’s Racism Problem

Terrence Miller loves card games. Long before he took second in the Dreamhack Austin Hearthstone tournament earlier this year, he competed in games like Yu-Gi-Oh and the Pokemon TCG. Unfortunately, many people know his name because he got showered with racist Twitch chat abuse during Dreamhack Austin earlier this year. Last weekend, it happened again. Advertisement During Miller’s big moment on a massive eSports stage in May, Twitch chat lit up. Some people praised his plays, but an overwhelming number spammed chat with racist sentiments and emotes. At the time, Miller said he hoped his family didn’t see the sludge spewing down the side of the livestream. In the immediate aftermath of the fiasco, Blizzard issued a statement strongly disavowing those viewers’ behavior and saying it fell on companies like Blizzard and Twitch to make things better. “This is ultimately an industry-wide issue, and it will take all of us to make a real impact,” Blizzard wrote. Twitch, meanwhile, said that they were “exploring new tools and processes to increase awareness and mitigation of these issues.” Last weekend, Miller took the stage as one member of a TwitchCon diversity panel that also included streamers RyogaVee, DeejayKnight, and ChinnyXo. The whole…